Broncs fall 10 games below .500

By Kadie DiGiuseppe

Rider softball fell short in the last game of a series with Iona on April 10 and then gave up two more losses to Siena on April 13, but found a way to pick up a much-needed win on April 14 over Siena. 

‘We fell short’

In the last game of a series against Iona, the Broncs and the Gaels stayed scoreless until the fourth inning when the Gaels drove in the first two runs of the game off a single and a double. 

In the sixth inning, the Broncs finally got on the board after junior catcher Kristyn Gardner’s fly out to right field gave sophomore outfielder Maddie Luedtke room to run home. 

Only down by two runs in the last inning, Rider tried its best to come up with something at the plate but was unsuccessful, ending the game with the 3-1 loss. 

Senior pitcher Anna-Marie Groskritz and junior pitcher Kathryn Schmierer combined for seven strikeouts during the game. 

In the first game of the weekend at home against the Saint Bernards, Siena jumped to an early 1-0 lead over the Broncs during the first inning. 

The Broncs’ defense in the following innings was on fire, including senior infielder Jessie Niegocki’s diving catch and the outfielders catching every ball that came their way.

During the last inning, the Siena offense overtook Rider and scored five more runs to gain a hefty lead. 

Rider tried to fight back during the last inning but came out scoreless and ended the game down 6-0 in favor of Siena. 

Starting pitcher Groskritz had three strikeouts during the game. 

During the first inning of their second game with the Saint Bernards, the Broncs allowed another run, which let Siena take a 1-0 lead. 

Siena put up another run scored in the second, two more runs scored in the third and one more in the fourth while Rider still couldn’t put a run together. 

After two doubles in the fifth scoring four more runs, the Broncs found themselves down 8-0 at the top of the fifth. 

Two groundouts and one pop out solidified another loss for Rider. 

Sophomore pitcher Fallyn Stoeckel, who started for Rider, had two strikeouts.

‘We just wanted to win’

Looking to recover from their last couple losses, the Broncs faced Siena one last time the following day and started the game with a quick-inning courtesy of Neigocki’s three-strikeout inning. 

The Broncs didn’t score any runs during the first inning but quickly turned things around in the second inning. 

Luedtke, Gardner and freshman catcher Kendall Reda-Fehsal all got on base before freshman infielder Kiersten Buchanan drove in the first run of the weekend for the Broncs after her single to right field. 

Junior infielder Olivia Burroughs followed Buchanan at bat and drove in Gardner for another run. 

Buchanan scored shortly after Gardner courtesy of Stoeckel’s single to left field, which gave Rider a 3-0 lead. 

“Having those losses gives you that incentive,” said Groskritz. 

Rider’s defense stayed strong for the next couple of innings, but for the rest of the game, the Broncs went scoreless. 

Siena scored its only run in the last inning and Niegocki had another diving catch to seal the deal on the game, giving Rider its first win over Siena 3-1. 

Niegocki and Stoeckel combined for five strikeouts during the game. According to Luedtke, the team stepped up its game for the last matchup.

“The difference on Sunday was our defense was better and we had more timely hits,” said Luedtke. 

Groskrtiz echoed this sentiment, saying that the team needs to continue this trend moving forward.

The Broncs will travel out of conference to Morgan State University on April 17 and will be back home over the weekend to play conference opponent Fairfield on April 20 and 21. 

Rider will stay in Lawrenceville for its games on April 23 against Mount St. Mary’s at 2 p.m.

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